For four days, villages under siege by jihadist rebels from the Saudi-backed group Jaysh al-Islam went without food, medicines, electricity, and communications. Syriac Orthodox Bishop Silwanos Boutros Naameh called for a humanitarian corridor to the besieged communities, urging the besiegers to show some “mercy”. Bishop Silwanos appealed on behalf of the 3,000 residents of Sadad and Hofar, in the Qalamoun region (An-Nabk District, in Rif Dimashq Governorate in western Syria, near Lebanon), asking that the rebels spare and relieve them from the current siege, to allow them to move to safe places near Homs. He asked that all major religious leaders and all heads of state, as well as all men of good will, to raise their voices so that the rebel besiegers would allow the residents, stuck in their homes without food or medicine, to escape the siege. The Qalamoun area is under the control of Islamist insurgents from Jaysh al-Islam, led by Zahran Alloush, backed financially and militarily by Saudi Arabia. The Jihadist rebels want to control the Beqaa Valley and the lines of communication between Homs and Damascus, therefore, occupying Qalamoun is the first phase of their new offensive against the Syrian Army and the Lebanese Hezbollah. We publish Mar Silwanos’ appeal, calling on everyone to spread it as widely as possible.
To all humanitarian and religious institutions and organisations, as well as to all people of good will, and to all humanitarians, I address this appeal for all the people under siege in areas that are now inaccessible, which they can’t leave, and which we can’t reach. They live in the villages of Sadad and Hofar, in the Qalamoun area in Syria. I write this so that you might appeal to the besiegers, as they’ve not allowed local residents to leave, that they might agree to talks to facilitate the safe departure of the residents, in any direction, either towards the Convent of al-Attieh or towards Homs, where we could succour them. I implore all those with influence and all those in contact with the warring parties to put pressure on and negotiate with the besiegers, passing on this request for the safe release of the captive residents, even though most of them haven’t yet suffered mistreatment.
These people were under siege for the past four days without electricity and water, or means of communication. They have little food. Amongst them, there are children who need milk and sick people who need medicines. Around 3,000 people live in the beleaguered communities. Their besiegers aren’t letting them leave their homes. Indeed, they put pressure on them to stay put, despite having held talks with them. We call on all organisations, on all the children of our Church scattered throughout the world, to give aid and active support. Help us! Work with us prudently, without making statements that could affect the safety of the besieged. Our people shall never forget. I repeat, reiterating our good intentions so as not to jeopardise the safety of our loved ones… please, post this appeal on your blogs and websites, send it to newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets. Send it also to all those who could play a positive role in finding a solution that would secure the residents’ release. For our part, in our mission, we repeat in God’s name, we call on the besiegers to show mercy to these innocent people, who aren’t responsible for this tragedy. Let them go safely and treat them well. We call upon God to give these innocent people patience, strength, hope, courage, health, and vigour.
Lord, Lord, Lord! Do NOT abandon them!
Mar Silwanos Boutros Naameh
Syriac Orthodox Bishop
25 October 2013
Reflect on who backs the Saudis (and which political faction in the USA makes the most warmongering noise)… you’ll know what to do in November ’14. You’ll cast your vote against the Republican Party… this is what their “American Exceptionalism” has led to (do you want a repeat of Afghanistan, only worse?). It sickens me to no end…
The Christian people of Syria hang on the cross… and the Neocon Republicans and the Interventionist Democrats want to bomb, burn, and destroy (NOT build, aid, and feed) throughout the world (they don’t even want to help feed poor Americans, so, its natural that they wouldn’t want to help feed luckless foreigners). Something is horridly wrong with us, our political institutions, and our religion… we must either put it right or else. “We have met the enemy, and he is us“.